Lowestoft Corporation Tramways

Summary
Early photographs indicate that tramcar staff wore double-breasted, 'lancer-style' tunics with two rows of five buttons (narrowing from top to bottom, and presumably brass - see link) and upright collars; the latter do not appear to have carried any insignia. Caps were initially soft-topped with a glossy peak, and carried a small brass municipal badge consisting of an angel holding a shield, above the full system title in a ribbon: 'Lowestoft Corporation Tramways'. A standard, brass, script-lettering grade badge - either 'Motorman' or 'Conductor' - was worn beneath this. Caps, tunics and trousers were all piped, though the colour remains, for the moment, unknown.

At some point in the early days of operation, a change appears to have been made to kepi-style caps, which is somewhat curious given that they could well be considered 'old fashioned'. They did not however, last for long, as photos of staff wearing them are scarce, and they were eventually replaced by military-style caps with tensioned crowns (tops), which continued to be worn right through to closure. No change was ever made to the cap badges.

The style of tunics was also subtly changed over time, to include epaulettes; this had certainly taken place by 1910, though they, like the upright collars, appear to have been left plain (i.e devoid of badges). However, later photos clearly show staff wearing a small municipal badge on both collars, as well as what appear to be employee numbers on each epaulette. Staff also frequently wore heavy, double-breasted, 'lancer-style' greatcoats with high, fold-over collars and epaulettes; both the latter seem to have been devoid of badges.

Inspectors wore single-breasted jackets with hidden buttons (or an hook and eye affair), edged in a finer material than the main jacket, and upright collars; the latter carried the bearer's grade - 'Inspector' - in embroidered script lettering. Caps were the same style as worn by tramcar staff, with the identical municipal badge, but worn above 'Inspector' in embroidered script lettering, as opposed to the standard brass badges worn by conductors and motormen.

In common with many tramway systems, women were employed during the Great War - initially as conductors and later as motorwomen and inspectresses - to replace men lost to the armed forces. Female staff were issued with long, tailored, double-breasted, 'lancer-style' jackets, with waist belt and high, fold-over collars; the latter carried embroidered 'L C T' initials. At least some of the jackets appear to have carried unmarked vulcanite or horn buttons rather than the standard marked brass issues. Headgear comprised a shiny waterproof bonnet with wide brim, which bore the standard 'Lowestoft Corporation Tramways' badge; however, various other berets and hats appear in the photographic record, suggesting that many ladies preferred to wear what was fashionable.

I am indebted to David Mackley's 'Lowestoft Tramways' (Middleton Press; 2010) for background information on several of the photos shown below.

Images

Motormen and conductors
Lowestoft Corporation Tramways crew
Conductor and motorman (George Warnes) pose with a tramcar in London Road South, decorated to mark the coronation of King George V in 1911. Both men are wearing 'lancer-style' tunics and the piping on the conductor's trousers is clear to see.


Lowestoft Corporation Tramways badge
Lowestoft Corporation Tramways cap badge - brass


Lowestoft Corporation Tramways badges
Standard ‘off the shelf’ script-lettering cap badges of the type used by Lowestoft - brass.


Lowestoft Corporation Tramways Crew
Conductor Freddie Reynolds and motorman Harvey Crawford with Tramcar No 10 - photo undated, but probably taken in the 1920s. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Lowestoft Corporation Tramways
Motorman and conductor pose besides Lowestoft's official last tramcar in Station Square on 8th May 1931. The collar badges and employee numbers (on the epaulettes) are clearly seen. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Lowestoft Corporation Tramways
Conductor and motorman in greatcoats alongside Tramcar 14 at Belle Vue Park ion the last day of operation, 8th May 1931. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Senior staff
Lowestoft Corporation Tramways Inspector
A Lowestoft inspector in 1911, on the occasion of King George V's coronation (see photo above).


Female staff
Lowestoft Corporation Tramways conductress Olive Bately
Conductress (Olive Bately) and motorwoman (Louise Shipp) pose with a rather delapidated looking Tramcar No 22 at Pakefield - photo undated, but probably taken during or shortly after the Great War.


Lowestoft Corporation Tramways conductress Olive Bately
Conductress (Olive Bately) and motorman pose with Tramcar No 1 at the same location as the above photo, but on another day, as Miss Bately's footwear differs. Photo courtesy of the Tramways and Light Railway Society, with thanks to David Voice.


Lowestoft Corporation Tramways conductress
Lowestoft Great War motorwoman at the controls of Tramcar No 5. Photo courtesy of the Stephen Howarth Collection.